Google to Address Buzz Privacy Concerns

Connie Crosby previously outlined some of the privacy concerns surrounding the use of Google Buzz.

Following its launch, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Google in a San Jose Federal Court, as well as a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission by the Electronic Privacy Information Center which stated that Google had engaged in unfair and deceptive practices.

Google responded to the feedback (read complaints) with a number of changes to Buzz, including a shift from auto-follow to auto suggest, ability to block users, and better inbox controls.

Some time today Google is expected to make an announcement about privacy concerns with Buzz, and ask users to confirm or change their privacy settings. For many users who have already been turned off from Buzz and have disabled it, this won’t be of much interest. But for others who continue to play with it, perhaps in hopes that it might challenge Facebook or Twitter, keep an eye out for changes today.


The post from Google about Buzz can be found here.


  1. First, let me say that Buzz began as a social “chat” site and rapidly evolved into what is now almost entirely dedicated to what I shall refer to as “Spam Networking.”

    Google, in its zeal to market an open networking scheme that would effectively triple its unduplicated user base, failed to consider privacy issues. And as a consequence of their complete lack of live Customer Support, they were unaware of the severity of privacy issues arising from Buzz.

    Segments of the law enforcement community have been aware for quite some time that Google has been engaging in related activities enabling the organization to dramatically increase advertising revenues. The class action lawsuit regarding Buzz and privacy issues is merely the tip of an enormous iceberg and like the Titanic, a rather sizable chunk of the internet will go down. That includes Yahoo, AOL, Windows and a vast array of smaller organizations – all part of the largest monopoly in history.

  2. Quote from an email re the Google Buzz Class Action that I received today:
    Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (, a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

    Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

    The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

    Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at

    This mandatory announcement was sent to all Gmail users in the United States as part of a legal settlement and was authorized by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

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